Previewing the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs

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Blake Rutherford, courtesy of: gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/e9a8b68d3d728470779e023e700bd342e92afe3f/c=102-0-1698-1200&r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/2016/06/06/Cincinnati/Cincinnati/636008288556446253-rutherford2.jpeg

Hey guys, Happy New Year, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series, I’m excited to get these going again. Today I’ll be talking about the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Riverdogs are the minor league affiliate of the NY Yankees.

Previously I covered the:

Asheville Tourists (Rockies)- Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

Augusta Greenjackets (Giants)- Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series this is my 2nd year of doing these.  I scour the lower levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017.  And wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  I’ll be wrong a lot but I learn a ton from this exercise.

For the purpose of this piece I studied the 2016 Charleston Riverdogs, Staten Island Yankees, Pulaski Yankees, and both of the GCL Squads.

The Yankees have a top 5 farm system and they have a lot of talent at the lower levels.  Charleston should be in the upper echelon talent wise in 2017 and we should be seeing more of the vaunted 2014 International signing class.  For more on that click  Breaking down the Yankees’ record international free agent haul

A big shoutout to Robert Pimpsner owner of Pinstriped Prospects (on Twitter @PinstripedPros). He helped me a great deal throughout this process.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting reports once I see the 2017 Riverdogs I’ll have reports on many of the players listed below.  It appears as though I’ll get two looks in the 1st half of 2017:  in late April when the Dogs visit Hickory and again in early June when they’re in Greenville taking on the Drive.  There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

Lets meet the Notables

Blake Rutherford courtesy of: milb.com/assets/images/7/1/2/192997712/cuts/Rutherford_az0h1mbx_ounm0nak.jpg

CF) Blake Rutherford- Age 19, listed 6’3″ 195 lbs, bats left, throws right. Rutherford was drafted 18th overall in the 2016 draft out of high school in West Hills CA (Los Angeles Metro).

mlb.com wrote this on there Yankees top 30 prospect list.

“Rutherford has everything he needs to hit for significant average and power.  He has a smooth left handed swing, bat speed and power, though he won’t fully tap into the raw pop until he adds some more loft to his stroke.”

“Presently a solid runner who broke into pro ball as a center fielder, Rutherford could lose a step as he matures physically and wind up on an outfield corner.”

For more on Rutherford and the rest of the top 30 Yankees prospects click here http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=nyy

 

 

Hoy Jun Park, courtesy of: farm6.static.flickr.com/5735/22005593376_0b7f06b51c.jpg

SS-2B) Hoy Yun Park- could be back- Age on opening day 21, listed 6’1″ 175 lbs, bats left throws right. Park was signed out of S Korea in 2014.  I got a couple of looks at Park last season (both at 2B unfortunately) and I liked him a lot.   He showed some good bat to ball skills and a patient approach along with plus speed and I liked his actions at 2B.  I have read positive things about his SS play as well.

 

 

Estevan Florial courtesy of: cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/43/files/2016/02/florial2-590×900.jpg

CF-RF) Estevan Florial- Age 19, listed 6’1″ 185 lbs, bats left throws right.  Florial of Haitian decent was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000 in 2015.

This is behind a pay wall but Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America wrote this back in September while listing his Appy league top 20. Just a quick snippet.

“Florial wowed evaluators with his raw tools this summer and earned a late-season promotion to low Class A Charleston.  Florial shows plus bat speed from a wide-shouldered, long-levered frame, giving him plus-plus raw power in batting practice. He has plus arm strength in the outfield, where his plus speed pairs well with his impressive routes.”

For more on Florial and the rest of the Appy top 20 click here it’s an excellent read: http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2016-appalachian-league-top-20-prospects/#2SFT9bDUSQmHorSk.97.

Wow what a combination  of power and speed I can’t wait to see him. His game is still rather raw though and he may spend another year in short season before coming to Charleston.  We’ll see.

 

 

Leonardo Molina, courtesy of: c2.staticflickr.com/6/5590/14687821098_729e58c3fd_b.jpg

LF, RF, CF) Leonardo Molina- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Molina was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  He had a short stint with Charleston last season and I got a couple of looks.  He’s raw offensively but demonstrated quick wrist and above average raw power.  Looking forward to seeing more of him in 2017.

 

 

Dermis Garcia, courtesy of: pinstripedprospects.com/2014/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/DermisGarcia.jpg

3B) Dermis Garcia- Age on opening day 19, listed 6’3″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Garcia was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Big time raw power (.248 ISO) but holes in the swing (.206 BA, 40% K rate). Probably starts in Staten Island but could see Charleston in the 2nd half.

 

 

Wilkerman Garcia, courtesy of: bronxbaseballdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wilkerman-garcia.jpg

SS) Wilkerman Garcia- Age on opening day 19, listed 6′ 176 lbs, bats both and throws right. Garcia was signed out of Venezuela. Garcia had a tough year offensively in Pulaski and he’s likely going to get another year in rookie ball but he might make an appearance in the 2nd half we’ll see.

 

 

Nick Solak, courtesy of: cdn.riveraveblues.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Nick-Solak1.jpg?x77199

2B) Nick Solak- Robert Pimpsner thinks Solak may be a candidate to skip Charleston and head for Tampa.  Age on opening day 22, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Solak was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Louisville.  Not super toolsy Solak reportedly handles the bat well but there are questions about the power.

I found a much more detailed scouting report on Solak here if you’re interested, courtesy of prospect junkies:   2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: Nick Solak

 

Around the Diamond

C) Donny Sands- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Sands was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft as a 3rd baseman out of high school in Tucson, AZ.  He converted to catcher after the 2015 season.

From mlb.com Yankees top 30 prospect list

“Sands has precocious feel for controlling the barrel. He made consistent line-drive contact while walking more than he struck out in his first taste of pro ball. He exhibits mostly gap power for now, but he has the bat speed, strength and hitting ability to eventually produce 15 or more homers per season.”

“He not only has impressed New York with his tools and aptitude, but also with his competitiveness and work ethic.”

Others who could see time at Catcher:

Eduardo Navas could be back, Jerry Seitz, (7th rd pick) Keith Skinner, Brian Reyes, Victor Rey and Manny Argomaniz who saw time at C, 1B, 3B and OF.

Middle Infield

2B) Nick Solak

SS) Hoy Yun Park

SS) Wilkerman Garcia

SS) Diego Castillo- Age 19, listed 6′ 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Castillo was signed out of Venezuela in 2014.  He’s getting some rave reviews for his offense and defense but he hasn’t played above the GCL yet and seems like a long shot to come to Charleston this year.

Others who could see time in the middle infield: Former 2nd rounder Gosuke Katoh could be back he saw time at 2B, 3B and SS. Welfrin Mateo (2B, 3B, SS) Chris Godinez, Yonauris Rodriguez, Danienger Perez and Josh Gardiner (2B, SS)

Corner Infield

1B) Dalton Blaser- Age on opening day 23, listed 6’1″ 200 lbs, bats and throws left.  Blaser was drafted in the 8th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State Fullerton.  He saw time at both 1st and corner outfield in 2016

3B) Dermis Garcia

SS, 3B) Angel Aguilar- Age 21, listed 6′ 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Aguilar was signed out of Venezuela in 2011.  He’s a candidate for either the starting 3B job or the starting SS job but he could also go to Tampa. I saw him a couple of times last season and I liked him.  He showed good hands and feet at 3rd, at the plate he’s got some pop but needs to tone down the aggressiveness.

Others who could see time at the infield corners: 17th rd pick Mandy Alvarez (3B) could be back, Drew Bridges (3B,1B), Kane Sweeney (1B), Tim Linch (1B) Brandon Wagner (1B, 2B, 3B))

Outfield

CF) Blake Rutherford

RF) Estevan Florial 

LF) Leonardo Molina

LF-CF-RF) Carlos Vidal Could be in the mix too- Age on opening day 21, listed 5’11” 160 lbs, bats and throws left. Vidal was signed out of Columbia in 2013. I was looking forward to seeing him in the Sally last season but injuries limited him to just 19 games across 3 levels.

Pinstriped Prospects wrote this back in Jan:

“Carlos has been playing mostly centerfield but in the long-term profiles more as a left-fielder.    He has good speed and has the tools to be an above-average defender in the outfield, the question would be his bat and if it continues to stay hot as he is challenged at the higher levels of the farm system.”

Assuming Rutherford is the starting CF in Charleston it will be interesting to see if the Yanks still want to play Vidal in CF if that’s the case he might not be coming here this yr.  He could skip though Staten Island probably makes more sense after his lost year.

CF) Dominic Thompson-Williams– Age 21, listed 6′ 185 lbs, bats and throws left.  Thompson-Williams was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of South Carolina.

Others who could see time in the OF: Alexander Palma (RF,LF) might be back for a little more seasoning Jhalen Jackson also. Ricardo Ferreira (CF,LF,RF), Kendall Coleman (LF), Cesar Diaz (CF), Nathan Mikolas (LF), Ben Ruta (RF), Andy Diaz (RF), Isiah Gilliam (RF, LF), Erick Mendez (LF) and Ricardo Ferreira (CF,RF,LF)

Starting Pitching

Freicer Perez- Age on opening day 21, listed 6’8″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right. Perez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Robert Pimpsner mentioned Perez as somebody he’s high on so I’m already intrigued.

Austin DeCarr- Age on opening day 22, listed 6’3″ 218 lbs, bats and throws right.  DeCarr was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft out of Prep school in Salisbury Ct.  My friend Gershon Rabinowitz also of Pinstriped Prospects interviewed DeCarr recently Austin DeCarr Prepares for 2017 Following Tommy John Rehab.  Sounds like an interesting young arm, I’m looking forward to seeing him.

Drew Finley- Age 20, listed 6’3″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Finley was in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in San Diego, Ca.  I was hoping to see Finley last year in the Sally but the Yanks shipped him to the NY/Penn league instead.

For a scouting report I was looking for something current (end of 2016 season) with no luck.  Here’s a piece from Robert Pimpsner from January Yankees Top Prospect #18 – Drew Finley

Hard to know who amongst this group will be promoted to Tampa and who will be back: Luis Cedeno, Adonis Rosa, Simon De La Rosa and Nick Green.

We may also get newcomers:

Chad Martin, Juan Jimenez, Abel Duarte, Rafael Lara, Raynel Espinal and 2016 4th round pick Nick Nelson but many of these guys will make up the starting staff for Staten Island.

 

Charleston will have a lot of talent up and down the roster.  If Blake Rutherford and Estevan Florial makes the jump this year, the OF will be loaded.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the trio of pitchers Perez, DeCarr and Finley all seem to have promise.

I hope you got as much out of this as I did.  I’ll be back soon with a look at the 2017 Columbia Fireflies (Mets). Cheers.

Previewing the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets

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Melvin Adon courtesy of niallonbaseball.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/adon_pitches.jpg

Hey guys welcome to the next installment of the SAL team preview series.  I’m excited to get these rolling again.

Today I’ll be talking about the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets as I continue alphabetically around the league.  The Greenjackets are the minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

Previously I wrote up the Asheville Tourists

For those not familiar with the SAL team preview series, I scour the rookie levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017.   And wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  I’m going to be wrong a lot but it’s a fun exercise and I learn a ton from it. The official rosters won’t be available until April.  As always once I see these players live you can expect write ups on many/most of them.

At Notes from the Sally it’s all about live look scouting reports.  A quick look at the 2017 Greenjackets schedule shows they’re are only coming to my area (Asheville, Greenville, Hickory) once in the 1st two months of the 2017 season (May 5-8 at Greenville).  I’ve set a personal goal to see all 14 teams in the Sally twice in the 1st half (April 6th through June 18th).  So I’m planning to take a run down to Columbia on opening weekend to get that 2nd look at both Columbia and Augusta. There’s plenty of time to get into all of that though.

In putting this preview together I studied the 2016 rosters of the the Augusta Greenjackets, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and the AZL Giants.

Each team has there own nuances when it comes to player development in the low minors.  The Giants recent college draftees often skip Augusta or just get a quick cup of coffee on there way to San Jose.  Particularly the higher drafted position players and I think that will be the case for the 2016 Salem-Keizer starting OF: 2nd rd pick, Bryan Reynolds, 3rd rd pick, Heath Quinn and  6th rd pick, Gio Brusa.  I think they all start 2017 in the California league and they could be joined by 5th rd pick, SS Ryan Howard.

There still projects to be a lot of interesting pieces in Augusta in 2017 lets have a look at the notables.

The Notables:

Sandro Fabian courtesy of //i.ytimg.com/vi/cMjdO81bDfk/maxresdefault.jpg

RF) Sandro Fabian- Age on opening day 19, listed 6’1″ 180 lbs, bats and throws right.  Fabian was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.  Fabian had an excellent season in his 1st look at Stateside rookie ball.  For a scouting report here’s what Wrenzie over at Giants Perspective wrote about him:

“Fabian has five-tools with average or better potential in the works with his promising OF D and potential solid bat but he’s still very far from his ceiling. The signs of improvement though are evident and his first showing in America is a success.”

I enjoy reading Wrenzie’s work, for much more on Fabian and many other scouting reports click here http://giantprospective.blogspot.com/2016/09/sr-2016-azl-giants.html#more

 

 

Matt Krook courtesy of dailyemerald.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/16.03.19.emg_.KD_.UOBB_.vsUtah-2.jpg

LHP) Matt Krook- Age 22, listed 6’4″ 195 lbs, bats and throws left. Krook was drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2016 out of the Univ of Oregon.   This is plucked from the mlb.com top 30 Giants prospect list http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=sf

“The 35th overall pick in 2013. Krook agreed to a $1,587,700 bonus before a post draft physical raised concerns about the elbow.  Miami withdrew the offer and Krook went to the U of Oregon and dominated as a freshman before succumbing to Tommy John surgery.  He was unhittable in his return in Spring 2016 but severe control problems dropped him to the Giants in the 4th round.”

“Krook’s fastball works 92-94  with outstanding life, he also has a devastating power curveball that can be a double-plus offering at it’s best.  He also flashes solid sliders and changeups.  In terms of stuff he has everything you need to become a frontline starter.”

“Pitchers often need time to regain there control/command after reconstructive elbow surgery and that has been the case with Krook. He has had to dial back on the velocity in order to find the strike zone and he has had trouble maintaining his high 3/4 release point. He does have an easy delivery and SF excels at polishing pitchers so there’s hope for him.”

I have no insider information but I suspect Krook will start in Augusta.  He continued to struggle post draft with the command/control issuing nearly 1 walk per inning. Probably not a candidate to skip a level to get to the extreme hitters parks in the California league.   I’m looking forward to seeing him.

 

Jalen MIller courtesy of i.ytimg.com/vi/cO7irROIONQ/maxresdefault.jpg

2B Jalen Miller- Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Miller was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Sandy Springs Ga (Atlanta Metro).  Miller played all of 2016 in Augusta and struggled offensively like many prep bats do.  I got multiple looks and I liked Miller, he’s a little raw offensively particularly with pitch recognition but he’s got quick wrists that generate above average bat speed and the ball jumps off of his bat.  He’s an above average runner and shows good hands and feet at 2nd Base.  I think he comes back at least for the 1st half of 2017.

 

Kelvin Beltre, courtesy of //cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000vyLKHygZhNw/s/860/860/MiLB-070615-021-LG.jpg

3B Kelvin Beltre- Age 20, listed 5’11” 170 lbs, bats and throws right. Beltre was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2013.  He spent all of 2016 with Augusta and missed significant time do to injury (he broke his arm the day before I got my 1st look at the Greenjackets).  He’s had difficulty staying on the field thus far in his career and he’s missed some vital development time but at 20 he’s still at an age appropriate level so if he can stay healthy and get 500 at bats in 2017 he may put himself on the map in prospect circles.  Everything I’ve ever read about Beltre suggests he’s raw but toolsy, hopefully he can start putting things together in 2017.

 

Melvin Adon courtesy of https://niallonbaseball.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/adon_step_back.jpg

RHP) Melvin Adon- Age 22, listed 6’3″, 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Adon was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2014.  Adon has an electric arm and he frequently gets clocked in the triple digits.  He was not a name I was familiar with until I started researching for this piece.  Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs recently wrote this about Adon:

“Adon was touching 100 during extended spring training, but struggled to find the strike zone. He was so undercooked for a 22-year-old that scouts anticipated an assignment to the AZL despite his age. He was sent to the Northwest League and struggled there. When he came back for instructional league, Adon’s body looked better than it had during the spring and he flashed better strike-throwing ability before things fell apart in an instructional-league finale that included four walks and a hit batter in two innings. Things unravel for Adon when his arm action gets long and his slot drops down to a near sidearm level. When he’s driving the ball down a bit more his fastball sits 95-98 with late arm-side action and is nearly unhittable when he locates. His slider and changeup are both below average and I think the changeup has more potential as Adon doesn’t really show the natural ability to get around the baseball and spin his slider. He projects as a reliever for me. He’ll be 23 in June, hasn’t even pitched above the Northwest League, and hasn’t had on-paper success anywhere. He’s worth following because the arm strength is so incredible and because he showed signs of strike-throwing life during instructional league.”

For the rest of Longenhagen’s piece ranking the top Giants prospects click here.Prospect Reports: San Francisco Giants

 

Around the Diamond

C-  There’s no obvious choice here but any of:  Adam Sonabend, Zack Bowers or Matt Winn could be back in Augusta and newcomers: Dylan Manwaring, John Riley, Connor Sabanosh, Ryan Matrange could make an appearance.  There’s also Cody Brickhouse and Jeffrey Parra but they’re still teenagers and probably staying in rookie ball.   We’ll see if anybody emerges from this group.

Middle Infield

2B- Jalen Miller

2B- Kevin Rivera- age 20, listed 5’11” 170 lbs, bats both, throws right.  Rivera was drafted in the 14th rd of of the 2014 draft out of HS at the Carlos Beltran Baseball academy PR/FL.  Rivera had a very good year as the starting 2nd baseman in Salem-Keizer in 2016.

SS- Hector Santiago- age 19, listed 6’3″ 185 lbs, bats and throws right.  Santiago was drafted in the 12th round of the 2015 by the Giants out of high school in Salinas, Puerto Rico.  I haven’t found much out there at this point.  I love the size for a SS prospect assuming he has enough agility to handle the position.  He hasn’t hit as a pro yet but he’ll spend all of the 2017 season as a 19 year old. Time is certainly on his side.

There’s not a lot of SS depth in the low minors so if the Giants decide to give Santiago another year in short season than one of MIller or Rivera will likely see some significant time at short in 2017 (Miller was a high school shortstop).

Other candidates in the middle infield:  Manuel Geraldo could be back, he saw time at 2B, 3B and SS in 2016. Tyler Brown missed a large chunk of the season but when healthy he saw time at 2B, 3B and SS.  Richard Amlon played both 2B and SS.  Brandon Van Horn is another player who might see playing time at SS in 2017.

Corner Infield

1B- Ryan Kirby- Age on opening day 22, listed 6’2″ 180 lbs, bats left throws right.  Kirby was draft in the 12th rd of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of San Diego.  There’s not a lot out there on Kirby right now.

3B- Kelvin Beltre-

Manuel Geraldo may also be a factor at 3rd

Other candidates for the Corner Infield Positions: John Riley, Catcher may also see time at 1st base,  Nick Hill saw time at both 3B and all three OF spots. Robinson Medrano was the primary 1st baseman in the Az league and Nathanael Javier played 3rd.

Outfield

LF- Gustavo Cabrera-  Age on opening day 21, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Cabrera was a high profile signee out of the Dominican Republic in 2012.  His career was in jeopardy the next year when a freak accident nearly cost him his hand.  He saw his 1st significant action in 3 years in 2016, I missed Cabrera’s brief run in the Sally last season but he’s a player that I’ve been waiting to see for a long time.

LF- Jacob Heyward- Age 21, listed 6’3″ 210 lbs, bats and throws right.  Heyward was drafted in the 18th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Miami.

CF-  Johneshwy Fargas- I think there’s a good chance he comes back for a 3rd season.  Bryan Reynolds will likely be the starting CF in San Jose.  And there doesn’t appear to be another logical fit unless they deem Mikey Edie as ready to make the jump.

RF- Sandro Fabian- 

It’ll be interesting to see if both Cabrera and Heyward make the trip and how the playing time is divvied up.

Other OF candidates- Ashford Fullmer could be back, he played all 3 OF spots in 2016, Juan Rodriguez, Woody (Roger) Edwards, Julio Pena, Malique Ziegler, Jose Layer, Luis Lacen, Byron Murray

Starting Pitching

LHP Matt Krook-

RHP Melvin Adon-

LHP- Mac Marshall-  Age on opening day 21, listed 6′ 181 lbs, bats right and throws left. Marshall was drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 draft out of Chipola Junior College.  He got a cup of coffee late with Augusta and struggled to find the strike zone. That’s been a persistent issue so far in his career

 

These guys made up the bulk of the starting rotations for the 2 rookie ball levels it’ll be interesting to see who gets the the last 2 spots: Matt Solter, Victor Concepcion, Raffi Vizcaino, Garrett Williams, Caleb Baragar, Alex Bostic, DJ Myers, Stephen Woods.

I thought the 2016 Augusta Greenjackets were in the upper echelon talent wise.  This team probably falls more mid pack but there are quite a few players I’m looking forward to seeing. As always once I see this team there will be write ups on many of the players. I hope you got as much out of this as I did.  Cheers

I’ll be back soon with a look at the 2017 Charleston Riverdogs (Yankees).

 

Previewing the 2017 Asheville Tourists

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Riley Pint, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Riley-Pint-2015-bm.gif

Riley Pint, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Riley-Pint-2015-bm.gif

Hey guys, welcome to another round of the SAL team preview series at Notes from the Sally.  I’m excited to get it rolling as there looks to be a lot of talent on the horizon.

In this series I scour the rookie levels of each organization and speculate on who might be coming to the Sally in 2017 and wherever possible I try to include a scouting report.  I’m going to be wrong a lot but it’s a fun exercise and I learn a ton from it. The official rosters won’t be available until April.  As always once I see these players live you can expect write ups on many/most of them.

1st up will be the Asheville Tourists as I work alphabetically around the league.  The Tourists are the minor league Colorado Rockies and they typically are one of the more talented teams in the league.  It’s also my home park, I live about a mile away and frequently walk to McCormick field.

The notables:

Riley Pint, courtesy of mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/04/14/images/mlbf_532377583_th_45.jpg

Riley Pint, courtesy of mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2016/04/14/images/mlbf_532377583_th_45.jpg

RHP) Riley Pint– Age 19, listed 6’4″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right. Pint was drafted 4th overall in the 2016 draft by the Rockies out of high school in Overland Park Ks (Kansas City Metro). According to mlb.com’s top 30 Rockies list:

“Pint had the highest ceiling in the 2016 draft so the Rockies were delighted to get him at 4.  He consistently works 93-97 and tops out at 102.  His power curve is already a plus pitch and he can manipulate it into a harder slider where desired.  The change up also plays as plus with good fade.  He comes with some risk though, there’s effort in the delivery and he struggles to repeat his mechanics and arm slot.”

 

Tyler Nevin, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/4/6/135545546/cuts/tyler_nevin_960_hi9j31kc_5op3bdsm.jpg

Tyler Nevin, courtesy of milb.com/assets/images/5/4/6/135545546/cuts/tyler_nevin_960_hi9j31kc_5op3bdsm.jpg

3B Tyler Nevin-  Age 19, listed 6’4″ 200 lbs, bats and throws right. Nevin was drafted 38th overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Poway, Ca (San Diego Metro). I was looking forward to seeing Nevin last season but a hamstring injury cost him nearly all of 2015. According to mlb.com

“Nevin  sprays line drives from gap to gap and has a good approach at the plate.  Some scouts are questioning if he’s a 3rd baseman long term”.

 

Colton Welker, courtesy of pbs.twimg.com/media/CoGVr6wWIAAaxqj.jpg:medium

Colton Welker, courtesy of pbs.twimg.com/media/CoGVr6wWIAAaxqj.jpg:medium

3B) Colton Welker- Age 19, listed 6’2″ 195 lbs, bats and throws right.  Welker was drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft out of high school in Parkland, Fl (Fort Lauderdale area).   According to mlb.com:

“An advanced hitter for a teenager, Welker has the potential to hit for power and average.  Though Welker has below average speed he has good instincts on the bases and in the field.  He took to the hot corner immediately and has the arm strength and accuracy to make all the plays.”

I asked a few knowledgeable folks who write about the Rockies and and they all think that both Nevin and Welker will be in Asheville in 2017. But if Nevin hits he could move up to Lancaster pretty quickly. Which echoes what I was thinking.  It’ll be interesting to see how they divvy up the playing time among the two.  They could rotate between 3B and DH and one or both could get reps at 1B too.

 

Pedro Gonzalez, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Pedro-Gonzalez-Batting-2014-bm.jpg

Pedro Gonzalez, courtesy of baseballamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Pedro-Gonzalez-Batting-2014-bm.jpg

CF) Pedro Gonzalez- Age 19, listed 6’5″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gonzalez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. According to mlb.com:  “Gonzalez’s combination of tools and projectable frame made him one of the more intriguing prospects on the 2014 International market. He has tremendous power potential but his naturally long swing does lead a lot of swing and miss.  The converted shortstop, he probably ends up in right long term where his strong arm will be an asset.”

Gonzalez is high on the list of players I’m looking forward to seeing in 2017.

 

Manuel Melendez, courtesy of milb.com/images/650513/t4364/180x270/650513.jpg

Manuel Melendez, courtesy of milb.com/images/650513/t4364/180×270/650513.jpg

CF-RF-LF) Manuel Melendez– Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 165 lbs, bats and throws left.  Melendez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013.  “Ryan Shoppe” of SB Nations Purple Row wrote this in June while previewing the Grand Junction Rockies 2016 season.

“If it wasn’t for Pedro Gonzalez, Melendez would probably be the best player coming stateside this year and he may still prove to be that. Currently lacking the power that Gonzalez possesses, Melendez has the better eye and more consistent approach.  He also has plus speed.  If Melendez unlocks some power as he matures he may turn into an elite 5 tool prospect.”

Here’s a link to the Shoppe piece: http://www.purplerow.com/2016/6/22/11966054/colorado-rockies-prospects-introducing-the-grand-junction-rockies

 

Around the Diamond

C) Brian Serven–  Age 21, listed 6′ 215lbs,  bats and throws right. Serven was drafted in the 5th rd of the 2016 draft out of Arizona St. He has a reputation as a good defensive catcher.  We’ll see how the hit plays.

Others in the mix at Catcher:

(Joel Diaz (C, 1B), Wilkyns Jimenez, Steve Leonard, Campbell Wear, Will Haynie)

Corner Infield

1B) Jacob Bosiokovic- Age on opening day will be 23, listed 6’5″ 240 lbs, bats and throws right.  Bosiokovic was drafted in the 19th round out of Ohio St.  I wasn’t able to find much about him but: He showed some decent pop post draft and also stole 17 bases.

3B) Tyler Nevin, Colton Welker

Others in the mix for corner infield:

(Luis Castro (1B), Hunter Melton (1B), Wesley Jones (3B, 2B) Taylor Snyder (played all over the infield) Tyler Follis (3B, LF)

 

Middle Infield

2B) Jonathan Piron- Age on opening day 22. Listed 6′ 195 lbs, bats left, throws right.  Piron was acquired out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He started 2016 in Asheville before moving down to short season.  I got a couple of looks, he showed good feet and a strong arm at both 2B and 3B. At the dish he’s got an aggressive approach and a long swing.  He’s got some decent pop but some contact issues as well.

SS) Garrett Hampson- Age 22, Drafted in the 3rd round out of Cal St Long Beach.  According to mlb.com’s top 30 Rockies prospects: “Hampson has plus speed and gap power to go with smooth infield actions and an average arm for SS.”

Jose Gomez is also in the mix for a starting job in the middle infield or utility spot.  Age on opening day 20, listed 5’11” 175 lbs, bats and throws right.  Gomez was signed out of Venezuela in 2013. According to Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs:

“Gomez is an average runner with an average arm and could be a 45 or 50 at shortstop at maturity.  He has mature bat to ball skills and hit well for his age in the Pioneer league this year but lacks power projection because the body is already pretty maxed out.  He’s got a long-term utility profile.”

Here’s a link to the rest of Eric Longenhagen’s piece on Rockies prospects: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-24-prospects-colorado-rockies/

One of Gomez and Piron will be the starting 2nd baseman with the other coming off of the bench IMO

Others in the mix in the middle infield:

(Max George or Scotty Burcham (could return to Asheville) Anthony Brito, Jose Rodriguez and Tyler Orris)

 

Outfield:

CF) Pedro Gonzalez

LF) Manuel Melendez

RF) Willy Abreu- Age on opening day 22, listed 6’4″ 225 lbs.  Bats and throws left.  Abreu was drafted by the Rockies in the 6th round of the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Miami.  He’s a strong young man but there are holes in the swing.

Other candidates for the outfield:

(Terry McClure (LF,CF)(could be back) Vince Fernandez (RF, LF, CF), Cole Anderson (LF), Luis Brito (RF, LF) Tyler Bugner (LF) Steven Linkous (LF,CF) Daniel Suero (CF))

One of this group will likely see fairly significant time as the 4th outfielder.

Starting Pitching

RHP- Riley Pint

RHP- Robert Tyler- Age 21, listed 6’4″ 226 lbs, bats and throws right.  Tyler was drafted 38th overall in the 2016 draft out of the Univ of Georgia. According to mlb.com

“Tyler was one of the hardest throwers in the 2016 draft.  He has no trouble sitting in the mid 90’s and hitting triple digits with the fastball. In addition to the velocity, his heater is nasty because it runs and sinks and he delivers it on a steep downhill plane.  He also can flash a plus change up but he hasn’t shown much feel for spinning the ball, and now uses a knuckle-curve as his breaking pitch.”

“Tyler has difficulty repeating his mechanics and battles his command and control on a regular basis.  Many scouts believe he’s destined for the bullpen.”

RHP- Mike Nikorak- Age 20, listed 6’5″ 205 lbs, bats and throws right.  Nikorak was drafted 27th overall in the 2015 draft out of high school in Stroudsburg, PA.  I was expecting him in Asheville last season but so far he’s struggled in 2 season of rookie ball. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs shared his thoughts on Nikorak recently:

“Nikorak was once a potential top 10 pick, as his velocity and curveball both looked incredible during his showcase Summer.  By the next Spring his stuff had ticked down and he was out pitched by other prep arms in Eastern Pa down the stretch.  Nikorak has struggled to throw strikes as a pro. He was 88-91 during the instructional league in 2015 and 87-92 the Spring.  Colorado has been working to improve his arm action.”

Here’s a link to the full Longenhagen piece, It’s well worth the read: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-24-prospects-colorado-rockies/

RHP- Javier Medina- Age 20, listed 6’2″ 190 lbs, bats and throws right.  Medina was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Tucson, Az.  I haven’t found much written about him lately but he had a reputation of command over stuff at draft time.

Each of these guys also saw a significant number of starts in rookie ball and could play a significant roll in Asheville in 2017.

(Breiling Eusebio, Erick Julio, Antonio Santos, Michael Zimmerman, Rico Garcia, Alejandro Requena, Bryan Baker, Ty Culbreth, Yohander Quintana, Luis Guzman).

While I’m just getting started with the previews I think when it’s all said and done Asheville will be among the more talented teams in 2017 with Riley Pint and Pedro Gonzalez 2 of the more compelling prospects in the league.  I hope you got as much at of this as I did. The Augusta Greenjackets team preview should be up in the middle of next week. Cheers.